Dinner By Dagny

Not just food, food with flavor

Archive for the tag “chicken”

Chicken Scarpiello

I like the Food Network. I often get inspired by what those chefs are cooking, and continue to be amazed by how bad some people are at cooking. This season’s “Worst Cooks in America” introduced me to Chicken Scarpiello. I mostly followed the recipe on this and it was really good. It definitely hit the make again list, and the flavor to spice was perfectly balanced.

Ingredients

2-3 strips thick cut bacon

2-3 lbs chicken breasts

1 onion

3 garlic cloves

3/4 cup wine (I used leftover Mead – which carmelized the onions perfectly)

1 cup quartered cherry peppers (pepperadews)

1/2 cup hot pepper juice from the jar

1 cup chicken stock (1 used 1/2 cup pan drippings plus 1/2 cup water)

Adobo, Pepper & Oregano to taste

Directions

1. Chop bacon in to lardons (little pieces) and cook in large frying pan

2. After about 10 mins, bacon should be crispy. Remove from pan

3. Season chicken with Adobo and pepper

4. Brown chicken breasts on both sides in bacon fat (~5 mins/side)

5. Remove chicken from pan

6. Chop onion and garlic and saute in pan

7. Add wine to deglaze pan. Reduce by half.

8. Add chicken, bacon, cherry peppers, cherry pepper juice, stock and oregano to pot

9. Bring to boil

10. Put in preheated 300 degree oven for 40 minutes (You could simmer on stove for 15 mins per pound or put in oven for 15 mins per pound at 350 degrees. This allowed me to run out on an errand while it was cooking).

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Look how rich and delicious that sauce looks! I saved that too.

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Mediterranean Chicken Pasta

As a process, cooking often starts with an ingredient. I often don’t know what I am going to do with it, until I start. This recipe was pretty indicative of that. I was planning on chicken and knew that I wanted to use my crockpot for the majority of the work as it was our annual spring karate tournament and the family would be out all day. I started searching for cockpit chicken recipes online, but it took a while for inspiration to set in. Most of the recipes were variations of smothered cream of xxxxx (you name it) soup. That seemed a little heavy for me.

My youngest daughter asked if we could have pasta so that also added another element to the mix. So this left me with only a few options for a lighter, tasty crockpot chicken recipe that could be served over pasta. I finally came across this Greek chicken recipe that I thought could make work.

Ingredients

3 pounds boneless chicken breast
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 jar marinated artichoke hearts
1/2 jar kalamata olives
1 small can sliced black olives
1/2 bag frozen broccoli
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp white wine
3 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp oregano
3 tsp Adobo
Feta to garnish
1 box whole wheat rotini

Directions

1. Add olive oil, white wine, minced garlic, oregano, and Adobo to crockpot and mix together
2. Add chicken breasts and turn to coat
3. Add in tomatoes, artichoke hearts and kalamata olives. Stir
4. Cook on low for approximately 8 hours (my crockpot has a meat probe that allows you to cook until the meat reaches a specific temperature. I used that but the time is also correct)
5. Add in black olives
6. Optional – thicken sauce by making a cold rue of olive oil and flour and add in a cup cooking liquid. Add back to crockpot and stir
7. Cook pasta per box instructions to al dente (approx 9 mins). Add in broccoli after 2 mins, for approx 7 mins cooking time
8. Toss with crockpot mixture

Results
This was a great way to end our evening. Everybody enjoyed it.

 

Roast Chicken with Roasted Root Vegetables

One of the simplest and tastiest dish in my repertoire is roast chicken.  It really isn’t that difficult, but until recently, I only had the time to do this on the weekend.  You do need a couple of hours to cook it, but if you have planned appropriately, you have enough for dinner, leftovers and still some tidbits on the carcass left to make a hearty pot of soup.   Unfortunately, I have also learned that I need a minimum of a 5-6 pound chicken for it to manage all this for my family.  I purchased a 3-4 pound whole chicken a couple of weeks ago, and my kids had devoured it so there wasn’t enough for my husband or any subsequent meals.

Ingredients

1 whole chicken (I used a 7.5 pound oven roaster)

lemon juice

Adobo, fresh ground pepper, thyme, oregano and paprika

1 each of medium sweet potato, white potato, turnip, beets

olive oil

wine, broth or water for basting chicken

Chicken Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2.  Make sure to remove the hearts, livers, necks from the cavity of the chicken.  I will usually put these at the bottom of the roasting pan to make the pan drippings more rich

3.  Rub down entire chicken, inside and out, with lemon juice (This is a habit I picked up from my parents, who I believed picked it up in St. Croix.  I think it was originally for sanitation reasons, but then stuck around because it adds a nice flavor and makes the skin brown and crispy)

4.  Season chicken thoroughly with Adobo, fresh ground pepper, thyme, oregano and paprika

5.  Place chicken on rack in roasting pan

6.  Put in oven for appropriate cooking time.  I use 20 minutes per pound which equates to approximately 2 1/2 hours

7.  Every 30 minutes, baste chicken with basting liquid (I used a light red wine I had on hand)

Roasted Root Vegetables Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees

2.  Peel and cube root vegetables

3.  Drizzle root vegetables with olive oil and season with Adobo and fresh ground pepper

4.  Cover with foil and roast in oven for 30 minutes, until vegetables are tender

5.  Uncover and broil vegetables for 5 additional minuts to add additional color and texture

I served the roast chicken and roasted vegetables with green beans, a mixed vegetable salad and homemade cranberry sauce.

 

 

 

Chicken, Red Beans and Rice

This is one of my favorite West Indian meals.  During college, I would arrive home and the first stop would be Villa Morales, a local restaurant, where I would get an order of rice and beans and an order of fried ripe plantains.  I have since branched out, but this is still one of my favorites.  The added benefit is that it is really easy to make if you have the right ingredients.

There are really two secret ingredients that make this dish come together – Sazon and Sofrito.  According to the Goya products site, Sazon is special spice blend that helps create an authentic latin flavor and Sofrito is a cooking base made from  tomato, onion, green peppers, cilantro and garlic.

Ingredients

2-3 pounds chicken (I used skin on, bone in chicken thighs, but you could use skinless, boneless breasts or thighs too)

3 cans red kidney beans (28 ounces)

4 packets Goya Sazon with coriander and annatto

1/2 cup Goya Sofrito

1/2 cup tomato sauce

Directions

1.  Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan

2.  Brown chicken thighs, in batches as necessary (do not crowd the pan)

3.  Once all chicken is browned, drain any excess oil

4.  Add kidney beans, Sazon, Sofrito, tomato sauce.  Mix thoroughly.  Add chicken back to pan

5.  Cover and simmer 35-40 minutes

I served it over brown rice with steamed broccoli.

Caribbean Curry Chicken

St. Croix has a unique history, having been inhabited by the Spanish, Dutch, French, Danish, Knights of Malta, England and the United States.  Currently, there are people from al over the Caribbean (St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Antigua, Nevis, Puerto Rico, Dominca, etc).  This means that I grew up with a very wide range of food.  My parents tended to keep to Italian and American food, but I was able to indulge in lots of tasty Puerto Rican and West Indian.  These influences run true to everything that I cook.

The key to a good curry is the proper curry powder.  I tried to make this a few years ago just using a basic curry powder found at the grocery store, but it didn’t have the proper flavoring or color (the curry I grew up with is more yellow).  I was able to adjust the seasoning level and save dinner, but the first thing I did was ask my dad why he thought it didn’t turn out properly.  He knew immediately that I had used inferior curry powder.  He told me to hunt down a Caribbean store in DC and get some Chief’s curry powder.  So I did!  I go to the Caribbean Market on New Hampshire Ave in Takoma Park.

This recipe is pretty easy to significantly increase or decrease how much you are cooking.  The Chief’s curry powder calls for 1 tablespoon of curry powder and 1/2 cup water per pound of meat.  I usually round up to account for the vegetables that I add.  For this particular recipe, I was cooking for some friends so I had close to 5 1/2 pounds of chicken breast.

Ingredients

5.38 pounds of boneless chicken breasts

4 medium carrots

3 medium potatoes

1 medium onion

7 tablespoons curry powder (1 per pound, plus rounding up to 7 for additional .38 and the vegetables)

3.5 cups of water

1 can garbanzo beans drained and rinsed

1/2 scotch bonnet pepper (this is discretionary. It adds flavor but can also add spice)

thyme

oregano

ginger

3-4 tablespoons rum

*sometimes I will add a chicken bullion cube to rachet up flavor.  It isn’t required though.

Directions

1.  Cut meant into cubes

2.  Season and set aside (I use my standard seasoning of Adobo and pepper)

3.  Heat olive oil in saucepan over medium high heat

4.  Mix curry powder and water and pour into heated saucepan

5.  Cook 2-3 minutes

6.  Add onions, cook additional 2-3 minutes

7.  Add chicken to pot and mix with onions and curry powder.  Cook for 20 minutes

8.  Add carrots and potatoes

9.  Add thyme, ginger, oregano and rum

10.  Cover and simmer curry for additional 25-30, stirring regularly

11.  Add garbanzo beans and simmer for additional 20-25, stirring regularly

12.  Taste vegetables and chicken for seasoning level and doneness

Serve over rice, or in a roti skin (an unleavened bread similiar to a tortilla used by Indian, and West Indians.)

Substitutions

I have had curry with lamb, shrimp, goat, conch, beef, and chicken.  Some have bones, some doesn’t.  Some have carrots and garbanzo beans, and some don’t.  These are all a matter a preference.  I make it this way because this is the way that my family enjoys it.  I tend to prefer to use chicken thighs because they work better for the longer cooking time of curry, but it all depends of what you have and what’s available.

Balsamic Mustard Chicken Breasts with Broccoli and Lentils

About once a month my friend Leighton comes over for dinner.  He travels for work a lot and we’ve been friends forever, so he gets great deal when he comes over…a good home cooked meal he didn’t have to make for himself and good company.  He’s not eating carbs these days so I have tried to make some adjustments to accomodate him.  This time around I wasn’t that inspired so just pulled some chicken breast from the freezer and decided I was going to use the last of the lentils I had.  Leighton will eat almost anything and I like lentils, but my family doesn’t really like them so I don’t make them very often.

This time around I did some searching on the internet and came up with some inspiration.  I first found this balsamic mustard marinade and that seemed pretty tasty.  I added some Goya Adobo and fresh cracked pepper as is standard practice and let the chicken marinade during the day.  I then found this lentils with bacon recipe and thought it seemed like a pretty solid place to start.  Who doesn’t love bacon and it was loaded up with vegetables.

Ingredients

1.5 – 2 lbs chicken  breasts

balsamic mustard marinade (see recipe link above)

Adobo

pepper

lentils

bacon

carrots, celery, onions (see lentils recipe link above)

broccoli florets

olive oil

lemon juice

parmesan cheese

1/2 red wine

balsamic vinegar

Directions

1.  Marinade chicken breast in balsamic mustard marinade for a minimum of 30 minutes, although I marinated it for 5-6 hours

2.  Simmer lentils with whole vegetables per the  lentil recipe

3.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees

4.  Brown chicken breast on each side over medium high heat, in oven safe skillet (approximately 5 minutes per side)

5.  Meanwhile, continue with the lentil preparation per the recipe

6.  Once chicken breasts are brown, place skillet in oven and bake chicken for additional 15 minutes

7.  Place broccoli florets in roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, sprinkle with salt and pepper

8.  Roast broccoli at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes (florets should be browned).  If the florets are brown enough you can put them under broiler for additional 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese once done

9.  Remove chicken from from skillet and set aside to rest

10.  Over medium high heat, add approximately 1/2 cup red wine to skillet to deglaze the pan.  Add about 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste for pan sauce.

Results

This was a simple meal that I cooked based on what I had in the cabinet.  Leighton said he doesn’t really like lentils, then helped himself to 3 servings.  Needless to say, there weren’t any leftovers.

Chicken Soup

I pretty regularly re-invent leftovers.  Taking the chicken carcass and making chicken soup is pretty standard.  This is another great recipe where you have a basic understanding of what to do and then can add your personal flavor profile.

In this case, I roasted a chicken last week and kept the leftovers for the sole benefit of making soup.  And then I got inspired by Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.  While I don’t watch a lot of tv, I am a sucker for the food network when I do.  On Friday night, one of the showcased restaurants was Happy Gillis Cafe and Hangout, Kansas City, Missouri, and the featured recipe was Posole Verde.  This sounded very tasty and I figured that I would recreate it.  I was a little concerned that the soup would turn out too spicy for my kids, so I was trying to figure out how to try this out and still make the traditional recipe they enjoy.

Ingredients:

Whole chicken carcass

3 celery ribs

3 carrots

1-2 onion (second onion optional)

2 garlic cloves

1-2 potatoes (optional)

1/2 cup corn (optional)

previously made chicken broth or gravy (optional)

seasoning to taste (salt, pepper, thyme, orgegano)

for green chili pepper slurry, you need

2 poblano peppers, roasted peeled and seeded

1 jalapeno, seeded

3 chile de arbol

4 tomatillos

1/2 cup of cilantro

2-3 garlic cloves

Directions:

Chicken Broth

1.  In a large pot, add the chicken stock, 1 celery rib (or equivalent tops) cut in thirds, 1 carrot cut in thirds, 1 onion quartered leaving outer peal intact, 2 garlic cloves smashed and cover with water.

2.  Simmer for 1-1.5 hours periodically stirring and skimming the fat off the top. You don’t want it to fiercely boil.

3.  Once the chicken meat comes easily off the bone and carcass breaks apart, let the stock cool for 1-2 hours.

4.  Once cooled, strain the stock into strainer on top of another big pot or bowl.

5.  Pull all the chicken meat off the carcass and toss the vegetables, bones, and fat.

This is where my recipe veered into two.  At this point, I split the stock into to two smaller pots.  I also added some pan drippings and previously made chicken gravy to the stock as well.

Traditional soup

1.  To stock, add chicken meat, 1-2 carrots, 1-2 potatoes, 1-2 celery stalks and any other vegetables that interest you

2.  Taste broth and determine seasoning level.  If needed, add salt (or Adobe, which is my goto season salt), pepper, oregano, thyme).  This is also where you might add any previously captured pan drippings, gravy, frozen stock, chicken boullion cubes as you desire.

3. Simmer for 30 minutes

Chicken Posole soup

1.  I purchased 1 jalepeno, 2 big chili peppers (looked kind of like poblano) and 4 small chili peppers (looked kind of like chili arbolo except green).  My grocery store just labels all of them as “chili peppers” and since I’m still working my way through, I don’t have a really strong understanding of the flavor profile of the the peppers.  Given this, I tried to follow the recipe at least for the chili pepper mixture from the original.

2.  I roasted a single chicken breast I had, because there really wasn’t enough chicken for two soups.

3.  Roasted the 2 big chili peppers under the broiler for 6 minutes on 1 side and 4 on the other.

4. After peeling and seeding large chili peppers, added them with 1 seeded and trimmed jalepeno, 3 smaller “chile de arbol” peppers, 4 tomatillos, 3 garlic cloves and about 1/2-3/4 cup cilantro to the blender and mixed

5. To stock, add chicken meat, 1-2 carrots, 1-2 potatoes, 1-2 celery stalks and any other vegetables that interest you.  I added 1/2 cup of frozen corn.

6. Add 1/2 cup chili pepper green slurry to soup and stir.

7.  Taste broth and determine seasoning level.  I added a little bit of Mexican Adobo (a little heavier on the cumin and a little lighter on the salt than the Goya brand).

8.  Simmer for 30 minutes.

The results:

The results were good.  My oldest daughter was a little turned off by the green color, and after the first taste of broth tried to convince me that it tasted the same as regular chicken soup.  She agreed to try a whole bowl when both my husband and I sat down to eat it.  The flavor is great, but the heat builds on you a little bit.  By the time we got to the bottom of the bowl, our noses were running a little bit.

Substitutions:

Chicken soup is another vessel for whatever flavor profiles you enjoy.  You can add

  • lemon grass and ginger for an Asian flair
  • more basil, parsley, rosemary for more Italian flavoring
  • Add Sazon or Sofrito for more Puerto Rican flavor
  • Maybe you just like more vegetables – what about spinach, broccoli, peppers – you can add whichever ones you want. Just be careful about cooking time and piece size (so it all cooks evenly)
  • Maybe you are all about the carbs – what about pasta, rice, dumplings – you can add any (or all as we have done in the past for our “man soup”)
  • Maybe you prefer barley, lentils, cous cous – those are all fair game as well

Chicken Enchiladas

This is a definitely a family and friends favorite.  Our friend Derek has been asking me for a real recipe for years now, but I’m only just getting around to it.  Part of this has to do with the fact that I view cooking as a creative process, based on what’s in the cupboard and what I’m feeling a craving for.  That really doesn’t make it easy to replicate successful recipes, nor does it make it easy to articulate one to your friends, who are anxious to duplicate it.

Enchiladas are tortillas, rolled around a filling, covered with sauce.  Beyond that, it is wherever your whims take you.  Now the recipe below is one that my children and some friends favor, but everything is up for interpretation.  Do you use corn or flour tortillas? Chicken, beef, turkey or pork? Black beans or refried? Vegetables? Traditional or green salsa, enchilada sauce or mole?  This is all up for discussion.  My cousin Cait took my base recipe and regularly mixes it up with ground beef or turkey, sour cream, peppers and onions (see Cait’s recipe, which my Poppa John declared better than mine).  These simple changes can give a whole new taste to dinner.  Once I outline the core recipe for my chicken enchiladas, I’ll give you some ideas for substitutions.

Ingredients:

1 package chicken breast shortcuts

1 Uncle Ben’s 90 second whole grain brown rice (or 1 cup cooked rice)

1 can black beans (15.5 ounces) drained and rinsed

~8 – 12 tortillas (I use soft taco flour ones, but the number you need depends on what size you use and how much filling you put in)

~4 cups shredded cheddar cheese

2 – 3 can enchilada sauce (28 – 42 ounces)

Directions:

1.  In a large mixing bowl, add chicken shortcuts and break any larger pieces into bitesize pieces

2.  Add uncooked rice (if using 90 second variety), black beans drained and rinsed, and 2 cups shredded cheese and mix

3. Add about 2 1/4 cups enchilada sauce and mix.  You want the filling moist but not soupy

4.  Pour some enchilada sauce into 9×13 casserole dish, enough to cover bottom

5.  Heat tortillas 3 at a time in microwave 20-25 seconds

6. Add 2-3 spoonfuls of filling and roll tortilla around and position in pan, seem-side down.  Repeat until all filling is used up

7.  Pour remaining enchilada sauce on top of tortillas

8.  Cover enchiladas with cheese, as much or as little as you like.  I used about 2 additional cups

9.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and the enchiladas are heated all the way through

Substitutions:

As I mentioned earlier, everything in this recipe is up to the cook’s discretion.  I have made the following modifications:

  • Corn tortillas – I actually really like the flavor of corn tortillas and these are more traditional, but they are harder to work with.  Unless super fresh, they tend to break
  • Salsa in addition or in substitution for enchilada sauce
  • Add sautéed onions and peppers to the filling
  • Shredded cheese blends instead of just cheddar. You could also use queso fresco.
  • Green salsa instead of mild red enchilada sauce – This is a real hit as well, but tends to be much spicier so my kids prefer the traditional one.  I only started doing this recently as I wasn’t ever pleased with the flavor of store bought green salsa.  I finally had an epiphany when I realized that I could use store bought green salsa as a base and then add some enhancements.  I purchase two green salsas, one jalapeño based salsa like Mrs. Renfro’s and another tomatillo based salsa like Desert Pepper or just the store brand, mix them in the blender with some garlic cloves, fresh cilantro and another jalapeño.
  • Use leftover mole chicken – I made a mole sauce out of a previously made barbeque sauce, cocoa powder, tomatoes, dried chilies and some leftover patak’s red curry paste.  It turned out great, but I had lots of leftovers, which I ended up using in the enchiladas.  These were declared a success as well.

As you can see, enchiladas are pretty simple once you get the basics down and allow you to shine with your own creativity.

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